|Boy Blowing Soap Bubbles. Allegory on the Transitoriness and the Brevity of Life by Karel Dujardin, 1663 (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)|
"The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible" – George Burns
There's a legendary story about Ernest Hemingway betting every member of the Algonquin Round Table ten dollars that he could create an entire story in just six words.
They all took the bet, and Hemingway collected when he jotted down:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
It's amazing to ponder the intensity and depth in those three pairs of words. And Hemingway didn't need to use any more to make his point.
You don't need to prattle on.
You don't have to have something to say constantly.
Sometimes, your audience simply might not want to hear from you.
And other times, the power of silence can convey something even more powerful.
There's great power in keeping things short.
You could always go on for longer. But no one wants to hear that.
"As great minds have the faculty of saying a great deal in a few words, so lesser minds have a talent of talking much, and saying nothing."
– François de la Rochefoucauld
When you write or speak, pick the words or images that matter, say what you need to, and get out of the way.
If people want to hear more from you, they'll ask.
More isn't always better. Sometimes more is just more.
Imagine how much more consumers would appreciate your work if you created fewer, better things.
Imagine how much more you'd enjoy creating those things if you were able to create them with more deliberation.
You can create anticipation and interest with scarcity and precision.
It just takes a little more effort.
Go ahead and try it.
This originally appeared in the Timeless & Timely newsletter for February 5, 2020. To see the newsletter in its entirety, please click here.